Bob Glauber: ‘Nervous About Manziel’s Safety’
Well, he played.
And somehow, Twitter survived.
Johnny Manziel lined up under center during Cleveland’s preseason opener against Detroit on Sunday – a 13-12 Lions win – and overall, he looked all right. Manziel was 7-of-11 passing for 63 yards and rushed six times for 27 yards, getting out of bounds or sliding on more than one occasion.
Still, questions remain as to whether the diminutive Heisman winner can survive in the NFL.
“I’m telling you: I’m nervous about Johnny as far as his safety,” Newsday columnist Bob Glauber said on The John Feinstein Show. “I’ve come to this conclusion about certain players, especially at quarterback. There are some players – Tim Tebow is one of them, (Michael) Vick is one of them, Manziel is one of them – their default mechanism, the way they react in a certain situation when the pressure’s on, is they stop looking down the field and they run. And they can’t help it. Part of it is competition, part of it is who they are and part of it is learning. That’s the way they are, and I don’t think (they) can fundamentally change. When you’re like that, you are taking a huge risk. Manziel even saw it (in) the first preseason game that he was getting knocked around, and I think you’re going to see more of it.”
Indeed, a handful of mobile quarterbacks have had success in the NFL, but Manziel is unique. Tebow, for example, is built like a tight end and can withstand a lot of punishment. Vick, especially in his 20s, was spellbindingly fast. Even Robert Griffin III, who has had issues with durability, is taller, bigger, stronger – and some would even say faster – than Manziel.
“I put Griffin in a different class,” Glauber said. “I don’t think he’s got that default reaction to him because I think he’s a terrific pocket passer. In fact, as a rookie, his pocket-passing stats were stratospheric. He was great. He showed tremendous poise, so I think if you’re his coach – and I’m sure Jay Gruden will design some things – you got to design some things with safety as a part of it.”
“You look at Russell Wilson,” Glauber continued. “He’s the first truly mobile quarterback to win a Super Bowl. Generally, pocket passers win Super Bowls, but Wilson kind of changed the dynamic of it. But even he doesn’t take off and run unless he can first make a big play and second get out of trouble – either slide or get out of bounds. So they’ll design some rollouts that turn into runs, but he can get out of bounds and live to see another play.”
“Manziel is going head-first.”
That’s something Manziel will have to change, especially if he wants to make it through a season or two, much less 10 or 12.
“I hope I’m wrong about Johnny, I really do,” Glauber said. “Because I think he’s exciting, he’s magnetic, he’s great for football if he’s good, he makes Cleveland relevant again – but fundamentally as a football player, you got to be careful. I know that’s kind of a weird thing to say about this sport, but there’s a way to do it and there’s a way to kind of protect yourself and not run these constant risks (where) any play can be your last.”
All that said, Glauber believes Manziel will start for Cleveland – and sooner rather than later.
“(Brian) Hoyer is clearly a hold-the-fort guy,” Glauber said. “We just don’t know how long he’s going to hold the fort for.”